What Vehicles Can Be Wheelchair Accessible?

It may feel overwhelming as you begin your search for the right wheelchair accessible vehicle. The good news is that you probably have more options than you think. A standard van isn’t your only option when it comes to buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle. SUV’s, trucks, sedans, and other compact cars can often be adapted to fit your needs.

Wheelchair Vans 

Wheelchair vans are the most popular vehicle for those with disabilities. With a spacious interior, these vehicles offer the option for a rear- entry or side-entry ramp and can often accommodate more than one wheelchair user.

Wheelchair Accessible SUVs 

A wheelchair van might not fit everyone’s lifestyle or preferences. Our inventory of wheelchair accessible SUVs includes the BraunAbility Chevy Traverse; ideal for those who want a mid-sized vehicle that will serve them well in both their daily activities and on extended travels.

Wheelchair Accessible Trucks 

If you have a trusty truck or have been in the market for one, don’t let your need for accessibility equipment stop you from purchasing one. Handicap platform lifts and wheelchair lifts can be easily installed in a variety of pickup trucks. We partner with Ryno Mobility to offer accessible Chevrolet Suburbans, GMC Yukon XLs, Dodge Rams, Chevrolet Silverados, and GMC Sierras. 

Can I Make My Vehicle Wheelchair Accessible?

In many cases, a vehicle can be made wheelchair accessible. The type of accessible features you can install in a current vehicle will depend on your wants and needs, as well as your vehicle’s make and model. For example, if you own a sedan, and you need a vehicle with a wheelchair ramp, you’ll need to purchase either a new or used wheelchair van, but an adaptation like a swivel car seat or hand controls can be added to most vehicles. If you’d like to modify an existing vehicle, fill out the Can My Vehicle Be Converted form, or contact a local mobility dealer with questions about specific vehicles and mobility products

Common Accessibility Adaptations for Vehicles

The type of modifications your vehicle will require is dependent on your specific needs and preferences. Luckily, accessible vehicles and adaptive vehicle modifications for people with disabilities continue to expand. These technologies range from simple equipment, such as swivel car seats, to more high-tech equipment like hand controls. Vehicle modifications can include:

  • Ramps – Standard on most BraunAbility vehicles, vehicle ramps come in many styles including powered and manual operation, as well as foldout or infloor styles to accommodate varying terrain.

  • Lifts – Most common on full-size vans, commercial vehicles, and busses, BraunAbility offers a series of vehicle lifts to transport passengers in wheelchairs.

  • Swivel Car Seats – Ideal for seniors and people with mobility disabilities, swivel car seats like the BraunAbility Turny Evo rotate, raise, and lower, to help individuals get in and out of a vehicle. Compatible with over 200 vehicles, these seats are programmed to fit your unique needs, and they can be uninstalled in one vehicle and transferred to another compatible vehicle if needed. 

  • Wheelchair Restraint Systems – wheelchair restraints, also known as wheelchair securement systems, are commonly used in accessible vehicles during transport. Common restraint systems include an unoccupied wheelchair restraint, retractable restraints, or an automatic locking system for drivers in wheelchairs.

  • Chair Topper – The BraunAbility Chair Topper is a rooftop carrier for folding frame wheelchairs. The car top carrier conveniently stows and retrieves a wheelchair near the driver’s seat, so a person with a disability can transfer from the vehicle to their wheelchair. 

Driving Modifications for People with Disabilities

For disabled drivers, several vehicle modifications can be made so even those with paralysis or limb amputation can drive. Driving modifications can include:

  • Hand controls – A common driving modification among people with disabilities, hand controls allow those who have limited lower body function to operate a vehicle using their hands.

  • Pedal extenders  – Commonly used by people with disabilities affecting stature, pedal extenders bring the traditional gas and brake pedals closer to a driver’s feet.

  • Left foot accelerators – While many people drive using their right foot, those with disabilities, especially right leg amputees, can use a left foot accelerator to operate a vehicle. 

How Do I Put a Ramp on My Vehicle?

Putting a ramp on a vehicle should be left to a certified mobility dealer, like BraunAbility. Our engineers and technicians work hard to ensure safety and reliability, so your vehicle and all its modifications keep in working order for years to come.

Is There a Lift Kit for My Vehicle?

Some accessible vehicles have a lowered floor or a kneeling system, while others do not. A lowered floor can allow for more headroom, while a vehicle kneeling system allows a wheelchair ramp to be less steep. Lift kits increase the distance between the vehicle’s chassis and the ground, providing additional ground clearance. Due to vehicle modifications, the ground clearance of a wheelchair van can be slightly less than a traditional vehicle, at 4 to 6 inches depending on the vehicle make, model, and entry style. In side-entry vehicles, the entire floor is lowered, whereas rear-entry vehicles are only partially lowered.

Visit Your Local BraunAbility Dealer

Finding the right vehicle or mobility product can feel overwhelming. If you are unsure of what BraunAbility mobility product will fit your needs, you can take our Where To Start assessment to find mobility product recommendations based on your specific needs. We also recommend visiting your local BraunAbility dealer to see our products in person. You can also speak with a product specialist to get one-on-one support for any product questions or recommendations.

Understanding what vehicles can be wheelchair accessible is one of the first steps in the car buying process. No matter what style, size, or model of vehicle you choose, your local BraunAbility dealer will make sure your experience is seamless and that you drive away in a car that meets all your needs. Visit your local BraunAbility dealer to start searching for your new vehicle today.

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